When Days Were Young And Filled With Laughter

Illustrated by Umberto Brunnelesci

Summer had come, and the sun was at its brightest, but the wind was cool still. A group of friends decided it was too lovely a day to spend inside a classroom. A plan was formed. We will all meet at my house and proceed to a nearby waterfall. Ton-ton falls it was called. The house where I lived during high school was inside the campus, and my parents worked there. Ten paces from the abode were one of the gates to the compound with a shade from which my friends would be waiting until my parents depart for work. We were skipping classes that day, so my parents could not know, or we would all be busted. Ate Luz, a cousin of mine now deceased, God bless her soul, was one of the conspirators. As soon as mother and father were out of sight, I beckoned my friends to come, all of them more or less a dozen, to the house to prepare for the adventure. It was going to be more than an hour walk through a jungle. Ate Luz then proceeded to cook our picnic food. Chicken Adobo included.

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A Remorseful Succubi

Illustration by Harry Clarke

Beauty and youth. What a dazzling combination. To bewilder and to sparkle. Days filled with sunshines. And men worshipping at her feet. Love was a game she played with wanton and mischief. Never lacking in affections and adorations. Long curvy limbs draped in elegance gliding across the room. Luxuriant tresses falling on her shoulder, parting in the middle concealing a corner of her dark smoldering eyes. Her red pouty lips in a half smile. Who can resist her? A waft of her perfume caressed the cheeks of those she passed by. And she is never forgotten.

She preyed on men for their vanity. Narcissism drives these fools to pursue her relentlessly. Remorse for these men she had none. Most often the ego was shattered more than the heart. But once or twice in her wild abandon innocents were trampled upon. Usually unsuspecting girlfriends. Occasionally she is left to wonder what are these fine women doing with this kind of men. And there was one in particular she could not forget. Christina was her name.

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I Walked One Day With A Friend

And wished the day would never end. Says below a dainty drawing of two young girls walking hand in hand towards the sunset. A poster which I displayed in my room when I was a kid. A testament on how valuable friendships were to me. Making friends then did not require an effort. We laughed at the same jokes and we were best friends forever. We liked the same movie star. ‘ She’s so pretty!’ and we were ready to swear to go to college together. I told her about my crush and vice versa. And we were ready to die for each other. Okay that one is an exaggeration. But you know what I mean. My happy days of friendship after childhood’s innocent mingling were my student days. Primary, high school and college. When responsibilities were non existent and laughters were abundant.

But growing up why did it all became so complicated? That even with the proliferation of social media which made keeping and reconnecting to friends so easy like never before do most of us feel still unconnected and misunderstood?

Socrates used the term philos to mean love in the sense of a friend and Eros as the god of Love and Desire. Socrates believed the best of all possessions is a sincere and good friend. But how do you define a good friend? And how do you know if you yourself have been a good friend?

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A Mysterious Death In The Village

Rahul sat restless besides his mother. He could not understand why she would not allow him to go out and celebrate with his friends. He missed watching the final match on tv and did not see how the game was won. The whole country was gripped by cricket fever yet their village was silent as a tomb. Comparing it to a tomb he thought was appropriate since someone had died. Someone important. An old man who was look upon as a benign leader of the community. His death was gruesome and kind of strange. Leaving the villagers mystified and puzzled. But Rahul did not really know him and he found it hard to mourn for a man he have not even met. And that it happened in the most inconvenient time. The fireworks from other villages lighting the sky every now and then were an irritating reminder of what he was missing.

” The bull was there watching from outside the hospital when babaji was taken there. As if making sure he was dead.” One of the old ladies whispered through her ghunghat. The women sitting with her including his mother clucked their tongues in horror and amazement. ” And again the bull appeared in the crematorium when they were burning his body.” The women shuddered. “Eh bagwan!” (Oh my god). One of them muttered. Rahul stood up feeling impatient with the women’s superstitious tales. He wanted to know what was happening in the rest of the country. He could only imagine that everyone’s heart like him was filled with pride for his nation’s cricket team. It took after all a very very long time before they could take home the World Cup trophy again. Continue reading

Tokophobia

20120803-105231.jpg ” You’re pregnant! You’re pregnant!” her mother kept saying. She stared at her mother feeling sick. She did not know who had gotten her pregnant.

“ We have to find you a man to keep you warm at night. It’s painful being pregnant.” Her mother added. Looking at her very strangely.

She was holding her stomach. Something was moving in there. Her eyes grew large. She felt sick again.

She went to school the next day thinking her future was ruined. She kept thinking about the horrible experience of delivering a baby. The pain, the dampness and cold. She did not know how she knew about those feelings. Her young mind must have accumulated it from stories she had read.

“I have to lose the baby!” Continue reading

The Shepherd’s Masterpiece

“There is a ghost up that tree.” said the shepherd. The sheep beside him looked up as if to say, ” So let it be how does it bother us.” With many sheep in the area, there was hardly any grass left for grazing. This particular sheep with the fluffiest wool was grazing on a lone yellow flowered plant. But one can’t really call it grazing as it was so gentle with the flower it was more like kissing.

The shepherd had let this sheep grow its wool without shearing it for last three season. The fluffy wool reminded him of one rockstar’s hairstyle whose name he could not even recall properly. There was a stick in the shepherd’s hand forked at the other end. He suddenly realized it and scratched a few lines on a moss covered rock in comfortable reach of his stick.

Not stopping he went on to write his name, drew a few symbols like at the rate sign, an exclamation mark and dot, dot, dot. Got up and went to the other side of the rock to continue his masterpiece. His pants became green at the back because of moss. Continue reading

Why I Write

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Telling stories has always been a way of expressing my self, my beliefs and my feelings. I found that it can a drive a point more effectively than a long rhetoric. Stories have won me many friends when I was a kid. Especially horror stories. Kids like to scare themselves silly. I can have them cowering under the covers after I am finished. And since I love to read at a young age I never run out of tales to tell. And now that I am grown up I am happy to share stories I wrote myself. Though I remember having written a short novel when I was in highschool in one of my notebooks. My classmates read it and passed it around. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer. So thank you for sparing a minute or two from your busy lives and stopping by at my page to read some tales I’ve written. You bring a smile to my face. 🙂

My dream is to become a master story teller. From whom words will flow smoothly like water from an eternal spring. And everyday of my life I am working on that.

©JMKhapra